Pivoting from NASA, Russia partners with China for lunar space station

Full Moon In China

Russia and China have signed an agreement to build and work on an “International Scientific Lunar Station” orbiting the Moon, the countries’ space agencies announced Tuesday. The space powers had been in talks for months as Russia mulled over whether it would participate in NASA’s Gateway program, a rival lunar space station to be built by a coalition of other countries in the next decade.

The International Scientific Lunar Station that Russia and China will work on is “a complex of experimental research facilities created on the surface and/or in the orbit of the Moon,” Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, said in a statement. It will be designed to support a variety of research experiments “with the possibility of long-term unmanned operation with the prospect of a human presence on the moon,” the statement said.

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